a lovely living

Monthly Archives for September 2014

New Takes on Your Wardrobe

I recently had a question from a reader that I thought more than a few of you may relate to. This busy working mother found it difficult to pull outfits out of her closet and wondered what ideas I had for switching things up and finding new outfits within her own closet. I found myself relating all too well to this question as well. How many times have I stood in my closet as my eyes glazed over and inspiration was no where to be found? It happens to all of us, trust me.

So what did I suggest? I recommended that this busy mom start by seeking inspiration. Many times I flip through magazines, browse blogs and scroll through Pinterest and Instagram only to see pieces that are in my own closet being worn in ways that never crossed my mind. I make sure to Pin the images or snap a pic on my phone otherwise that outfit has very little chance of ever making it out of my closet. I also suggested she search Pinterest for some basic items like a navy blazer or a white blouse so she could see the array of ways these basic pieces can be styled.

In an effort to take this one extra step and give you some examples, I’ve put together three different outfits all based around a classic navy blazer. My hope is that this may open your eyes  to some pieces you may own and shed a whole new light on your closet!


Blazer / Scarf / Shirt / Pants / Booties


Blazer / Dress / Boots


Blazer / T-shirt / Skirt / Necklace / Booties



I love the femininity of bows. They’re so fun to wear on everything from delicate jewelry to exaggerated collars. When worn on a blouse as this one is, I let the bow make the statement and kept everything else rather understated. I don’t get to enjoy the pleasure of getting dressed for work these days (I know, some of you cringe thinking I got please out of that!), but prior to having my children, this is an outfit I definitely would have turned to.  I love sticking to classics, a blouse and trousers for example, but I play them up by adding fun and slightly unexpected details like the large bow and leopard loafers. I love the tailored, ladylike outcome.










 Details: Polo Ralph Lauren Factory top (shop similar options below) / Gap pants / Boden loafers (similar here and here) / Kate Spade bag / Kate Spade Outlet ring and bracelet (similar) / Michele watch / Ralph Lauren sunglasses via TJMaxx (similar)

Shop the look:

High Five for Friday

Looking back over my week and the busyness of it all, I can see why time flies by. I am enjoying it all (the classes for me and the children, the practices, the lunches, the blog writing, the errands…ok I don’t love the errands) but man have I been ready to hit my pillow every night! Many people told me as time was leading up to our wedding day to stop and enjoy the day because it’d be gone in an instant. I made it a point to step aside a few times that evening and do my best to take it in. I need to figure out a way to make that happen during this season of my life as well. I guess this blog does an okay job of documenting certainmoments for me. Thanks for letting me share a bit of it with you every Friday ;)

What went on this week:

1) I joked on Instagram this week that my feed was filled with posts from #NYFW and this is what my life looks like. I don’t think it’s too shabby ;)


2) Two purchases this week. A vest for me and a vest for my mini. Seriously, if you have a daughter or a niece or a granddaughter or know someone with a little girl, this vest from Target is adorable!


3) Back into the swing of things at music class. She surely marches to the beat of a different drum.


4) I purchased these pants at JCrew Factory a few weeks ago while we were at the shore. I finally got around to wearing them this week and they are the most comfortable pants ever! Sure to be on a weekly rotation in my closet (at least!).


5) I’m still getting used to sending this little guy off to Kindergarten. I don’t like sharing him ;)


Hope your week was lovely! Have a great weekend and I’ll see ya Monday!

Linking up with The Lauren Elizabeth for High Five for Friday!


Bucket Bag


Dare I say, I may actually be starting to enjoy the slight chill in the air. I love being able to add an extra layer and throw on my booties. And I love the addition of some new fall colors. This burgundy bucket bag would be one example. I know bucket bags are currently on trend, but I wasn’t coming across any that really struck me. I saw this one at a shop when we were at the shore a few weeks ago and immediately loved it. Not only was it the detailing that caught my eye, but also the color. For some reason I’m obsessing over burgundy and I’m not sure I have any of it in my closet. I hope to find a prefect pair of trousers in this shade and would pair it with a soft pink or mint. Hopefully this outfit will make it out of my head and onto this blog at some point ;)








Details: Madewell vest (similar) / Pilcro denim (similar) / JCrew Factory t-shirt / Jeffery Campbell booties / Bucket bag / Cookie Lee bracelet c/o

Shop Bucket Bags:

Ham, Potato and Corn Chowder


I love soup year round, but when chilly fall weather rolls in they show up on my meal planning schedule more often than not. If you love chowders, you’ll want to give this recipe a try. I don’t do creamy soups nearly as often, but when I came across this one it looked too good not to taste! I’m not going to lie, one of my favorite parts may have been the crumbled bacon on top, actually I think that was everyone’s favorite part! Don’t skip it ;)


Here’s the recipe thanks to Cooking Classy:


  • 2 cups cooked ham, diced into small cubes (I used left over ham roast, ham steak works too)
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 5 1/2 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced (3/4 cup)
  • 2 celery stalks, diced (3/4 cup)
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans low-sodium chicken broth
  • 5 medium red potatoes (1 3/4 lb), diced into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 3/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (or frozen)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or heavy cream (I’ve tried and like both versions)
  • Chives for topping


  • In a large pot, melt 1 1/2 Tbsp butter over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery and saute until tender, about 4 minutes. Add chicken broth, potatoes, oregano, thyme, and bay leaf and season with salt and pepper to taste (slightly under-season with salt as the ham and bacon will add more saltiness to soup). Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium, cover with lid and allow to cook until potatoes are very tender, about 17 – 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce to warm heat, stir in ham and corn.
  • In a medium saucepan, melt remaining 4 Tbsp butter over medium heat. Add flour and cook mixture, stirring constantly, 1 1/2 minutes. While whisking, slowly add in milk, and whisk vigorously to smooth lumps, season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring mixture to a boil and allow to thicken, whisking constantly. Remove from heat, stir in sour cream or cream. Pour and stir milk mixture into soup mixture. Serve warm topped with bacon and chives.


Feminine Camo


I always love LOFT, but lately I’ve been drawn to that store even more than usual. They have great pieces, at great prices (with frequent sales), that fit really well. Last year camo was everywhere and as willing as I was to try it, there were few pieces that I was really drawn to. This sweater that I just recently grabbed on LOFT’s sale rack was the perfect piece of camo for my taste. It’s a lightweight, delicate sweater with the softest hint of shimmer running through it. A statement necklace only glammed it up a bit more and the white denim (that yes, I am still wearing) looks crisp against the pattern. Not only did I approve of this outfit, but my 5yo son remarked, “Mom, you’re wearing camo!” Win, win.

If you have a minute, head on over to Style Elixir’s Style Sessions where I am being featured today as head stylist. You can check out a quick Q&A and browse hundreds of other women with some fantastic style while you’re there!








Details: LOFT sweater / LOFT denim / LOFT necklace / DV by Dolce Vita shooties (options) / JCrew bracelet

Getting Organized

Overall I tend to be a fairly organized person. However, after this first week of school I already feel overwhelmed by the slew of paperwork falling my way. I can only image what’s in store in the coming years when I have more than one child in school! In addition to the typical mail/bills, I’m also in the midst of organizing fall classes, practices and meetings. If I don’t figure out a system now, I know I’ll find myself in a hole larger than I’ll want to dig myself out of in no time! As I work through this for myself, I figured I’d share some of the ideas I’m putting together.


1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

We have a space in our kitchen designated as our landing spot. This is where we keep our mail, keys, paper work and honestly everything that needs to be dealt with. Should you have the room for it, a message board would be a very beneficial piece to have. Perfect to keep the whole family involved and aware of what’s going on and when.


1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

For the time being, we don’t have a separate place for an office, but for those of you lucky enough to have one, I’ve gathered a bunch of items that I’d fill mine with. Plenty of ways to organize and store the slew of papers coming your way!


1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

Lastly but just as important, the kids’ chaos. Not only do they bring home loads of paperwork, but they also come home with projects and artwork. I certainly am not one to keep everything, but as I did with preschool, I’ll let my son select his favorite pieces and we’ll keep them on display. We tend to showcase artwork on bedroom doors in our home, but I love the cork boards and art clips shown above. This season also brings sports. And with sports comes gear. I’m the queen of baskets and bins (I only wish I had room for more!).  They’re perfect for holding shoes, hats, cleats, balls etc. A great catch-all to keep everyone’s stuff in place.

Any organizing tips up your sleeve? I’d love to hear!

High Five for Friday

Wow, it’s already Friday! This week was quite the adjustment week in our house. We returned from the beach, were thankful to have Labor Day as an extra day to recoop, and then were thrown into fall schedules on Tuesday. My son starting Kindergarten had me quite emotional. Of course the fact that he went into his classroom with no trouble at all (or even one last hug for mom!) made it even harder on me. Isn’t he still supposed to need me?! I know, he does, just in other ways and I should be proud that he’s able to go off on his own… yeah, yeah ;)

Here’s a look at our week:

1) Here he is. The little boy that I literally feel like I just gave birth to, headed off to Kindergarten!


2) And when he returned all craziness returned with him :)


3) One of my best and most thoughtful girlfriend’s sent me these. Apparently she knew I’d be a bit emotional!! They totally brightened my week. Thank you my friend ;)


4) I know bucket bags have been back on trend but there hadn’t been one I was crazy over. Then I saw this one at the end of our beach trip. The burgundy and perforated detail had me as soon as I set eyes on it! Welcome my new fall bag.


5) I wish I could say I was responsible for all of the cuteness in this photo, but my husband is the one that dressed her and she did her own accessorizing. If only I could be this cool.


How was your week? I’d love to hear! Enjoy your weekend and I’ll see you Monday!

Linking up with The Lauren Elizabeth for High Five for Friday!

Still Wearing White


This was an outfit that I actually wore a few weeks ago and totally forgot to post. I realize that we’re now past Labor Day and some say white is now a no, no. Well yesterday on Cupcakes and Cashmere I happened to read an interview she did with Toni Spencer and Jenny Graham, of Velvet by Graham & Spencer. When asked their take on white jeans in the fall and winter they responded by saying, “We’re all about all-year white jeans.  This season the folk-luxe inspired, chunky, textured knits look great with white denim.” I can’t say I’ll be wearing white in the midst of the winter slush here in PA, but I’m surely planning on taking their advice and pairing them with sweaters and booties for the next month or so.

Unrelated side note: have you subscribed to A Lovely Living yet? (check it out on the sidebar) Sign up to receive a weekly update of all the happenings here. You wouldn’t want to miss out on anything now, would you? :)







Details: Old Navy blouse / LOFT jacket / LOFT white denim / Sandals via Anthro / Michelle watch / Tiffany bow necklace / Stella & Dot ring

Cinnamon Bun Scones


I’ve always loved Cinnamon, but that love is becoming more evident  since I’ve been blogging. Check out my Cinnamon Bun Cake and Cinnamon Roll Bread in case you missed them. Today, however, we’re talking scones. Cinnamon scones. Cinnamon scones made with oatmeal that give them a light yet hearty consistency. My 5yo son Jack started Kindergarden yesterday (don’t get me started on the emotions), and I found myself with a few free hours while my 2yo was napping. It would make sense to clean, organize or do laundry, but who wants to do that?! I had everything on hand so I decided to whip up some of these scones. There’s not much more involved than mixing, blending and drizzling until you have a warm, delicious scone on your plate. I don’t know if I’d call this healthy, but it certainly carries a few more benefits and a few less calories than your typical scone!



Here’s the recipe thanks to Recipe Girl:

Cinnamon Bun Scones

Yield: 12 servings (12 scones)
Prep Time: 25 min Cook Time: 13 min


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup oatmeal, quick or old- fashioned, uncooked
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) chilled salted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup 2% milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3 to 4 teaspoons nonfat milk

1. Place rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray 12x 18-inch pan with nonstick spray (or line with parchment paper).

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, oatmeal, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt; mix well. Cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

3. In a small bowl, combine milk, egg and vanilla; blend well. Add to dry ingredients all at once; stir with fork or rubber spatula just until dry ingredients are moistened.

4. In another small bowl, combine remaining 2 Tablespoons sugar with the cinnamon; mix well. Sprinkle evenly over dough in bowl; gently stir batter to swirl in cinnamon mixture. (Do not blend completely).

5. Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls (or use an ice cream scoop) 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake 11 to 13 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire rack; cool 5 minutes.

6. To make glaze: In small bowl, combine powdered sugar, vanilla and enough milk for desired consistency; mix until smooth. Drizzle over tops of warm scones. Serve warm.

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